About the Book
The fifteen stories of George Garrett’s Empty Bed Blues (his eighth book-length collection) are vintage Garrett—no two alike—with each moving, one way and another, in new and daring directions. His stories are deeply concerned with the old verities of love and death and filled with the joys and woes of characters who come to life and command our attention.
Diversity is the key word for Garrett’s short fiction. He works in every known form and invents a few himself. In “A Story Goes with It,” Garrett fondly remembers an old friend while retelling a story the man once told him. Most of it is probably not accurate, as Garrett is quick to admit, but the mixture of fact with fiction makes for an entertaining read. His stories turn like the sharp curves of a mountain road, abruptly changing from a fond trip down memory lane to a sleazy reporter’s quest along the backroads for the ultimate crime story in “Pornographers.” He tops off his collection with “A Short History of the Civil War,” a series of poems written by two participants: one a Confederate, the other a Yankee.
In the marriage of fact and fiction, of comedy and pathos, and the music of many voices, the stories of Empty Bed Blues reconfirm the judgment of novelist and story writer Richard Bausch, who said in 1998: “There is no writer on the American scene with a more versatile, more eclectic, or more restless talent than George Garrett.”
George Garrett is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. He has spent almost fifty years at work as a literary craftsman writing and publishing poetry, short stories, novels, and literary criticism. Garrett ranks among the most successful southern writers of the twentieth century; his stories have been widely anthologized and have earned numerous awards, including the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction. He was Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2002 to 2004 and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia in 2004 and the Cleanth Brooks Medal from the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2005. He resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"Empty Bed Blues is a startling collection of stories and mostly fictional reminiscences that are laid before our eyes by a master of the written word. They range from the Elizabethan age to our own engaging times. They are not only skillfully constructed but also undergirded by irony and bawdy humor. George Garrett is an artist who uses the English language as a brush to create richly decorated canvases before the eye and mind.”—William Hoffman